There’s a famous story of the very hungry caterpillar munching its way through ice cream, salami, watermelon, cheese, and a lollipop before finally emerging as a beautiful butterfly. But behind this cutesy kiddie story is a much darker tale, a true story of death, destruction and revenge.
Instead of a single brightly coloured hungry caterpillar there is a multitude of ravenous, vivid green little b*****s. The selection of sweets & delicatessen delights is in fact a smorgasboard of brassicas. Munch, munch, munch, all day long. My leaves are like lace. My sprouts are a blanket of caterpillar poo.
So where once my week day morning began with emails and coffee, each day now starts with Caterpillar Patrol. No leaf remains unturned. It’s less “you can run but you can’t hide” and more “you can’t run and you can hide”! Every curl of the kale and each frill of the savoy is examined with meticulous care. At first I could only bring myself to flick each caterpillar from the leaves using a gloved finger, but now I ruthlessly pluck each critter from its hiding place, give a little squeeze between thumb and forefinger, and toss the corpse into the bucket of death.
But I confess to a growing sense of disquiet about this murderous streak in my psyche. Is there bad karma in decimating the caterpillar population? Will I wake up one morning in a bath of carnivorous caterpillars “I’m a celebrity ..” style? In my next life will I return as a caterpillar in Mr McGregor’s cabbage patch?